Amazon says it can ship items before customers order

by William M. Welch, USA TODAY

alt

Employees select and dispatch items in the huge Amazon warehouse in Peterborough, England, in this November 2013 photo. The online retailer has obtained a patent for "anticipatory shipping'' and says it has means to predict orders before they are placed. (Photo: Oli Scarff, Getty Images)


Online retail giant Amazon says it knows its customers so well it can start shipping even before orders are placed.

The Seattle-based company, which late last year said it wants to use drones to speed package delivery, gained a patent last month for what it calls "anticipatory shipping,'' the Wall Street Journal reports.

Amazon, the Journal reported, says it may box and ship products that it expects customers in a specific area will want, based on previous orders and other factors it gleans from its customers' shopping patterns, even before they place an online order.

Among those other factors: previous orders, product searches, wish lists, shopping cart contents, returns and other online shopping practices.

Amazon has worked to cut delivery times as a way of encouraging more orders and satisfying customers, such as by expanding its warehouse network and making some overnight and even same-day deliveries.

Amazon didn't estimate how much delivery time it expects to save, or whether it has already put its new system to work, the Journal reported.

"It appears Amazon is taking advantage of their copious data," Sucharita Mulpuru, a Forrester Research analyst, told the Journal. "Based on all the things they know about their customers they could predict demand based on a variety of factors."

To minimize the cost of unwanted returns, Amazon said it might consider giving customers discounts or even make the delivered item a gift.

"Delivering the package to the given customer as a promotional gift may be used to build goodwill," the patent said.



More Local

Newnan Police on lookout for robbery suspect

Newnan police are on the lookout for a man suspected of robbing the CVS Pharmacy on Temple Avenue at gunpoint Saturday. About 7:20 a.m., Off ... Read More


NPD arrests two shooting suspects

On Sunday, authorities with the Newnan Police Department arrested two men believed to be involved in two shootings that occurred over the la ... Read More


Grantville merges with county emergency dispatch

During Monday’s city council meeting, the city of Grantville voted to sign a memorandum of understanding to integrate its computer aid ... Read More


Marijuana odor leads to arrests of wanted men

Senoia police arrested four men Sunday after an officer noticed how strongly they smelled of marijuana in a convenience store. About 12:30 a ... Read More


Edwards receives President’s Award from GTA

Tavores Edwards, Coweta’s transportation manager, is the 2014 recipient of the Georgia Transit Association’s President’s A ... Read More

Breakdown: Grantville clerks leave town

It's a one-two punch that could put Grantville on the ropes. The recent resignations of longstanding city clerks Tonya Wheelus and Tracey To ... Read More